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Source: Travel Crested Butte

The first thing one notices about the terrain at Crested Butte is the jagged, arrowhead shaped mountain peak thrusting into the sky. The base of the mountain is 9,820’, and lifts take you to a notch, several hundred feet below its 12,162’ summit.

There’s lots to like about skiing Crested Butte: beaucoup, well-groomed beginner, intermediate and expert trails spread over ~3,000 feet of vertical;  121 runs in all, 23% beginner, 57% intermediate and 20% expert.

The runs off the East River and Paradise Express lifts – hallelujah, they have footrests – are an intermediate’s dream with rolling terrain coupled with some interesting pitches. Or, if you prefer greens, you can yo-yo up and down Red Lady Express. In fact, all the lifts with the word Express in the name, have footrests!

If you like it steep, groomed, or ungroomed, ride Silver Queen Express and pick International or Keystone. Both were groomed when my brother and I were there a few weeks ago. They have challenging steep pitches and are gratifying to ski. If your knees can handle moguls, Joker, Crystal, or Twister await.

Source: Travel Crested Butte

If you’re more adventurous, take Paradise Express and ski to the North Face Lift which provides access to several steep tree runs. You’ll end on the intermediate Black Eagle Trail that will take you to the bottom of the East River Express. Be advised, some hiking may be required to ski the areas served by North Face.

Good news for senior skiers: on-hill lodge restrooms tend to be on the same level as the snow. At the base, they’re downstairs but serviced by elevator!!!

Accommodations are plenty. There are condos at the base of the area in what is known as Mount Crested Butte. Crested Butte is owned by Vail Resorts, and our Epic passes got us skiing and a 20% discount off the nightly rate at a condo 500 feet from the lift and discounts at some of the stores, bars, and restaurants.

According to my iPhone, the town of Crested Butte is 2.8 miles down the road, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and stores. Gunnison is 27 miles to the south and has its own charm. If you stay in a condo and want to bring food, Gunnison’s City Market is well stocked and reasonably priced.

We reserved gear via Black Tie Ski Rentals. They bring the equipment right to your condo.

Gunnison is the nearest air-carrier served airport with direct flights from Dallas, Houston, and Denver. From the Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex, Crested Butte is, weather permitting, about a 13-hour drive. From the  Denver area, it is 4 – 5 hours.

Would we go back? Oh yeah!!!


  1. Mountain Express offers free and frequent bus transportation between the ski area base and Crested Butte.

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